Dust in the wind: The role of recent mass loss in long gamma-ray bursts

R. Margutti, C. Guidorzi, D. Lazzati, D. Milisavljevic, A. Kamble, T. Laskar, J. Parrent, N. C. Gehrels, A. M. Soderberg

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

29 Scopus citations


We study the late-time (t > 0.5 days) X-ray afterglows of nearby (z < 0.5) long gamma-ray bursts (GRBs) with Swift and identify a population of explosions with slowly decaying, super-soft (photon index Γ × > 3) X-ray emission that is inconsistent with forward shock synchrotron radiation associated with the afterglow. These explosions also show larger-than-average intrinsic absorption (NH6 10 cm > × 21 cm?2) and prompt γ-ray emission with extremely long duration (T super-soft Γ and extreme duration) in the same class of explosions is statistically unlikely. We associate these properties with the turbulent mass-loss history of the progenitor star that enriched and shaped the circumburst medium. We identify a natural connection between NH Γ and Tin these sources by suggesting that the latetime super-soft X-rays originate from radiation reprocessed by material lost to the environment by the stellar progenitor before exploding (either in the form of a dust echo or as reprocessed radiation from a long-lived GRB remnant), and that the interaction of the explosions shock/jet with the complex medium is the source of the extremely long prompt emission. However, current observations do not allow us to exclude the possibility that super-soft X-ray emitters originate from peculiar stellar progenitors with large radii that only form in very dusty environments.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number159
JournalAstrophysical Journal
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jun 1 2015


  • gamma-ray burst: general
  • gamma-ray burst: individual (GRBs 060218 100316D 980425130925A)
  • supernovae: general

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


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